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Unified Communications

Will Rockit Redefine Social CRM?

November 18, 2011

What happens when you merge social CRM, location based marketing, mobile marketing, loyalty rewards and targeted social marketing? The answer is Rockit – a new company whose goal is to prove to the world that managing customers in the new multichannel, multimedia world is far from “rocket science” (get it?).

The company provides a loyalty-enabled platform allowing customers to sign up for offers in categories of interest or by company and these companies can use the platform to track customer loyalty, communicate and push out special offers and incentives.

I Use Google and You Siri are no Google Killer

November 14, 2011

I worry more it will kill the public’s interest in speech rec

I have been reading with great interest all of the back and forth chatter on the web regarding Apple’s Siri and its merit as a Google killer and as I read these articles I wonder if many of the people writing these stories have followed the speech technology space these past decades. In 2000, I ran a show called Communications Solutions and on stage I did a live demo of General Magic’s Portico calling it a killer app – the next big thing. It was incredible to me and it worked pretty similarly to Siri. Sure, Apple’s speech rec “wizard” Siri has enhanced functionality allowing you to do information searches but in a decade you would expect such advancements, right?

But one has to wonder why is Siri the Google killer and why now?

Some US Offices Being Closed by Mitel

November 3, 2011


I just got word that a number of US offices have been closed by Mitel. A source tells me 60 people were let go, 40 technicians and engineers and there are now only 16 branches in the US. I reached out to Mitel PR who wouldn't comment due to the quiet period so I did some digging and found a Mitel employee in a supervisory capacity who confirmed US offices were being closed but wouldn't specify how many.

Mitel has had challenges for a number of years and I won't go into what they are in this piece. If you are curious see my past pieces in order or pertinence, ShoreTel Filling the Nortel Void?, Mitel to Come Out Swinging, Will They Connect? and Mitel Business Partner Conference 2011 Live Blog.

What is worth mentioning is the new CEO Rich McBee has outlined a plan and part of it consists of aligning its channels.




Plantronics Headset Line Exudes UC Dominance

November 3, 2011

Recently I received a care package from Plantronics with a number of their headsets and other products and when I opened the box it served as a not so subtle reminder of just how dominant the company is. Back in 1982 when my company TMC (I am CEO) launched the first magazine in the call center space, Plantronics was one of the few companies in the market and almost 30 years later they have evolved into an organization delivering unified communications endpoints for virtually every segment of the market.

Blackwire C435

TMC Covering Cloud, 4G and Open-Source This Week

October 24, 2011

Quite often at industry events I hear people say they can’t believe how many events TMC goes to each year and moreover,  they ask just how many conferences we cover each year. I haven’t done the math but it’s a lot. But since I was thinking about it, I figured I would share our schedule this week… To me the amount of money a company invests into the markets they serve is an important part of being successful. In other words, in order to keep our readers and viewers informed, we have to be able to cover all the important conferences in the market.

New Interactive Intelligence Quick Spin Cloud Contact Center Trial Portal

October 17, 2011

Coming off the first six months of 2011, Interactive Intelligence enjoyed cloud-based revenue growth numbers of 58% while orders increased a whopping 146% during the same period. Moreover, the cloud accounted for 26% of the company’s total new order dollar volume in the first half of 2011. Company CMO Joe Staples said the following to me in a meeting in New York, “We are seeing a huge shift towards the cloud.” He continued, “It is talked about in every single deal we are in.”

As a refresher – the company started selling a hosted solution in 2005 but relaunched its cloud-based communications as a service or CaaS solution in 2009.

Jobs, Ritchie & Galvin Dead but not Forgotten

October 14, 2011

As TMC's Peter Bernstein says, the rule of threes seems to be in effect. First we lost Steve Jobs who transformed the music, movie, computer and mobile markets and next we lost C programming language and UNIX OS creator Dennis Ritchie. The third death was that of Former Motorola CEO Robert Galvin who oversaw the creation of the first "large-screen" (19-inch), transistorized, cordless portable television and the first cell phone among a slew of other important innovations.

As I mentioned yesterday, the C programming language was the fourth one I learned after BASIC, Pascal and PL/1 and what made it unique was its infinite flexibility. All of a sudden a programmer could create dynamic arrays of pointers in a program instead of relying on fixed variables.

At Metaswitch Forum 2011

October 3, 2011

I presented at two sessions today at Metaswitch Forum 2011 and both focused on wireline trends in the market. The general theme of this conference so far has to do with how carriers can compete in a world which is rapidly becoming mobile and social. Metaswitch for it's part has been busy improving it's platforms allowing carriers to take back control of business relationships with their customers.

Interesting takeaways from this session is a discussion being led by Anusha 'Ash' Nirmalananthan of Metaswitch where she is dissecting some social network activities in Facebook and Skype and exposing areas of exploitation for carriers.

She says, innovation and differentiation are crucial for carriers going forward.



Is Content King or is it Platform?

September 30, 2011

The adage about content being king is absolutely true and the precipitous drop in the value of Netflix shares related to losing Starz programming reminds us that distribution can be considered a distant second to content. This is true because the world has flattened with the advent of broadband meaning any content provider can stream directly without the need for cable companies or telcos to take a cut.

Glenn Beck’s recent launch of GBTV for example shows us how a content provider can take his or her show and produce it just fine without the need to deal with traditional distribution.

But from the standpoint of the consumer, having access to a smattering of programs on disparate websites is not the same as accessing them all seamlessly through a single aggregator.

Benbria Evolves into Social CRM

September 22, 2011

Marketing has never been so complicated and social media has only taken something which was difficult and added levels of complexity. Recently at ITEXPO in Austin, Texas, TMC hosted its first CMO Summit and the consensus at the event was that complexity is out of control. How do I deal with the physical and virtual world while adequately communicating with customers the way they want to be contacted was a common theme.

At the expo I met with Andrea Baptiste President and CEO of Benbria, a company which got its start in the outbound notification space.

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